"What the Seas Will Swallow"

"Alex MacLean’s aerial images of the US East Coast convey just how much infrastructure perches in the coastal danger zone."

"When Alex MacLean wants to see how buildings and open spaces in a city relate to each other, he rents a small plane, taxis down a local airport’s runway, and cruises low—at somewhere between 150 and several thousand meters. As the elements line up the way he wants, MacLean swings open the hinged window in his door and trains his camera on the ground. For several seconds, the plane—sometimes while spiraling downward—flies itself, as MacLean methodically frames his shots.

Since long before drones democratized aerial photography, MacLean, who trained as an architect, has taken pictures from the sky, helping urban planners and other architects visualize ideas and document projects; but he also pays keen attention to how his aerial perspective can draw attention to what he sees as the creeping environmental degradation of the Earth. Recently, he took a multi-flight solo tour of the US East Coast from Maine to Florida over the course of a year, seeking perspective on the expected impacts of sea level rise.

He had known, of course, that rising waters pose serious risks to coastal states, but he was unsettled by the scale of vulnerability he discovered everywhere he flew: “There’s going to be a huge economic burden coping with all the problems that come with sea level rise.”"

Daniel Grossman reports for Hakai with photos by Alex MacLean as supported by the Pulitzer Center August 6, 2019.


Source: Hakai, 08/27/2019